Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 18:29 UK
Airline urges liquids review after trial



Tanvir Hussain, Abdulla Ahmed Ali and Assad Sarwar
The review call comes after three men were convicted on terror charges

Virgin Atlantic says "now is the time" for a review to be carried out of the current restrictions on hand luggage.

Director of communications Paul Charles said people were confused by different restrictions in different airports - including the rules on carrying liquid.

The call comes after eight men were tried over an alleged plot to blow up planes. None was found guilty but three were convicted of conspiracy to murder.

The government said it was "right to continue" with luggage restrictions.

The men on trial had been accused of plotting to bring down transatlantic airliners with home-made liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks.

Three men were convicted of conspiracy to murder at the trial, but the jury did not convict anyone of targeting aircraft. One man was cleared of all charges.

Advertisement

Explosives expert Sidney Alford shows what could happen with a liquid bomb

The court was also unable to reach any verdicts on four other men.

Mr Charles said: "Maybe now is the time for a review to take a look at how appropriate the current rules are for taking liquids on board an aircraft.

"Certainly it's important to have restrictions in place when the country is on the highest state of alert.

"There are different rules at different airports around the world, so it would make more sense to review all of these to make sure there's continuity worldwide."

Sweeping airport restrictions on liquids in hand luggage were brought in following the arrests of the group in August 2006.

The restrictions led to chaotic scenes at airports, with travellers having to queue for hours, numerous flight delays and serious restrictions placed on hand luggage, which only allowed certain items to be carried on board in a clear plastic bag.

Some of the rules imposed then remain the same, including no liquid in containers larger than 100ml. The term "liquid" includes drinks, syrups, creams, mascara, gels and pastes.

Scanning technology

BBC transport correspondent Tom Symonds said that senior BA sources would like the restrictions lifted, but only if it was safe to do so.

And they want the rules to be the same across Europe to avoid passenger confusion.

Our correspondent also added that the Department for Transport had been reviewing the restrictions ever since the alarm was raised.

We continue to work with international colleagues to develop technological detection methods which could ease the restrictions
Department for Transport

"They intend to lift the liquid restrictions and are testing scanning technology to see if liquids can be detected and identified by scanners," he said.

Peter Clarke, who was the head of Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command at the time the plot allegations surfaced, said restrictions on passengers carrying liquids on flights must remain.

"This means of detonation is still in the hands of the terrorists, and so to wind back security, to think of going back to a position where the terrorists could defeat airport security, seems to me foolhardy."

BAA, the UK's largest airports operator, would not confirm whether or not it had made a request for the restrictions on liquids to be lifted.

A BAA spokeswoman said: "The responsibility for determining the ongoing risk to aviation and how the industry responds lies with the government.

"Our job, and that of any airport operator, is to apply the appropriate measures in response to the most recent assessment of the threat."

Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain were convicted at Woolwich Crown Court of conspiracy to murder but a jury was unable to reach verdicts on the other charge.

Prosecutors have until the end of the month to consider a retrial of the men.

'Aircraft vulnerable'

Despite the verdicts, the government said that limits would remain in place.

A statement from the Department for Transport said: "The court case has proven that a generic capability exists to create liquid bombs from domestic items.

VERDICTS
Conspiracy to murder:
Abdulla Ahmed Ali
Assad Sarwar
Tanvir Hussain
One man not guilty
No verdicts on four others

"Aircraft could be vulnerable to such devices so we are right to continue to require restrictions for liquids carried as hand luggage."

"We are also right to require these restrictions internationally as, potentially, we are all at risk.

"Meanwhile, we continue to work with international colleagues to develop technological detection methods which could ease the restrictions."

But as these links did not stand up, the recriminations were beginning, he added.



Print Sponsor



FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Berwickshire News Decision due on retrial of 'airliner plot' seven - 44 mins ago
Daily Telegraph Australia Retrial over transatlantic 'bomb plot' - 50 mins ago
The Mercury Retrial over alleged transatlantic bomb plot - 1 hr ago
Al Jazeera British men face bomb plot retrial - 1 hr ago
Press of Atlantic CityBritish prosecutors seek retrial in airline plot - 1 hr ago
* Requires registration


RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific